I am a little self-conscious about the Navigator's enormity out on the road, or maybe I am just uncomfortable with the huge amount of bling that greets oncoming traffic. The Navigator boasts what must be the largest, brightest grille ever: cha-ching. Other than it being just a smidge pretentious, I like the way it looks. It is distinctive, stylish, and decidedly Lincoln. Discreet, however, it is not.

Obvious aside, the 2007 Lincoln Navigator Ultimate sports some nice features that make mom-life just a little sweeter. The feature that has the kids enthralled is the automatic deploying running boards. My kids literally want me to stand in the parking lot of their school and show all of their friends how the running boards flip up and down with the opening of each door. Mmmm, what fun. The only downside to the running boards is that they are a bit of a pain to clean. I have to wipe them down by hand with the doors open because they are hidden in the car wash.

The heated and, more importantly, cooled seats are a hit with my teenager. Even though the temperature is well below 50 most of the time we have this car, he insists on cooling his seat, claiming that he is always burning up when I pick him up from school. Whatever... bring on the heat, baby. The second row does not have heated or cooled seats, but it does have one of the largest center consoles I have ever seen. This thing could hold a small child. No, silly, I did not test that! Nevertheless, it is big enough to hold two child-sized backpacks after school.

Fabulous mom feature number 407 is the power liftgate. What a great thing, it totally fits my one-handed world. I just have to remember to keep the key fob in my hand when I leave the grocery store with 12 bags hooked on my arm and a couple of 5 year olds clamped to the other. Speaking of groceries, for all of its hugeness, the capacity to haul gear/groceries in the standard length Navigator is very limited if you have a full passenger load.

Now on to the third row: the power-folding seats and pop-up headrests are really nice for those one-handed occasions, but I find myself longing for a manual alternative the rest of the time because the fold/unfold is so slow. When I do raise the third row, visibility is significantly diminished. The seat offers full-on stadium seating, great view for the kids, I just have to be extra careful changing lanes and backing up because I can't see jack. The third row is also a bit difficult to access. The second row seats fold and flip to let passengers back, but the lever used for that function seems to need some serious upper body strength; it's not a one-handed affair.

Of course, many other family-friendly elements are available. Rear climate controls, side curtain airbags, navigation system, reverse sensing system, rear seat entertainment system, and even better than average Latch connector accessibility are just a few. Clearly, the Lincoln Navigator is a stylish, full-featured, family-oriented choice in the full-sized (read, mammoth) SUV market. If that is the type of vehicle you have in mind the Navigator is definitely a contender.

*For more information on the Lincoln Navigator and its safety features visit Cars.com.


LATCH Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 7


Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair -Ample


Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Excellent

Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times